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Matrasses have high levels of radon gas in Korea

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Korean radioactive beds matrasses

A recent news published in a Korean newspaper has drawn international attention: bed matrasses may be a source of radon gas

The radioactive Korean matrasses

In May 2018, the Korean government confirmed high levels of radon gas exhalation in some beds. Due to that, some beds could be a source of radon gas.

Are matrasses dangerous?

First investigations found out that exhalation levels were 10 times higher than the reference level. Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Therefore, beds caught the interest of Korean authorities.

What’s next?

Consumers associations have started actions in the court against the company. In addition, the Korean government has withdrawn all matrasses and asked for expert advice.

Link to the original article can be found here.

A town in Galicia with elevated radon levels

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galicia Costa da morte

A small town in Northwestern Spain has cancer cases 7 times higher than the Spanish average. The town is located in A Coruña, a province in the Autonomous Region of Galicia. Furthermore, this region has high radon levels.

The little town in Galicia: facts

This town has 313 inhabitants and cancer cases account for 23 only on an 800 m road. Also, the rest of the town has a big incidence of cancer cases.

Why?

This region is one of the Radon Priority Areas in Spain. As a result, the high number of cancer cases in this town might be attributable to elevated radon levels. Other public buildings in Galicia have similar radon-related problems.

Available tools

The EURATOM BSS 59/2013 Directive establishes a reference level for radon of 300 Bq m-3 and mandates member states to set up national radon action plans.

Link to original article in Spanish here.

Work places and EURATOM BSS

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© 06photo – stock.adobe.com

The Directive EURATOM BSS aims to offer a better legal frame to protect people from radon exposure. In particular, it focuses on radon at the work places. The reference level is 300 Bq m-3and every EU country can decide the level they wish to apply.

Check the animation we have created to give a clear message of radon and work places. Enjoy the animation and if you wish you can share what is the situation regarding radon and work places in your country in the comments.

Swedish Radon action plan

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The new national plan for radon in Sweden has been issued in April 2017. This plan is the result of a joint effort of seven central government authorities. The plan mandates the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority to coordinate the work of all the authorities to reduce the radon exposure to the population in Sweden. The reference level is 200 Bq m-3 and you can find further information on the website of SSM. The document (in Swedish) can be downloaded at this link

Radon as tracer and global climate research

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© Asya M – stock.adobe.com

We used to consider radon as the second leading cause of lung cancer. This has been proved by means of many studies and research projects. However, radon can be used as a tracer too. One example is an investigation carried out in Antarctica to look into how the relationship between pollutants reaching Antarctica and global climate models. What stands out from this study in terms of radon metrology is the device developed by Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). Have a look at the published paper to observe the very low values this instrument is able to measure. It can measure mBq m-3. For further information check the article published on phys.org.

metroRADON: Metrology for Radon monitoring

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Why do we need this project?

On 6th of February 2018, all European member states have had to incorporate into their national legislation the new EURATOM Directive 2013/59. This is a milestone to protect people against the dangers coming from ionising radiation and, in particular, those from radon exposure. Therefore, there are new needs in terms of calibration of radon measuring devices and protocols dealing with radon measurements. Also, as the Directive states the reference level for radon concentration must not exceed 300 Bq.m-3 so the challenge of having traceable and good calibration sources becomes obvious.

Structure and work packages

The project is funded by EMPIR (European Metrology Program for Innovation and Research) and coordinated by BEV/PTPmetroRADON has five main objectives:

  • To establish calibration procedures for measuring instruments capable of detecting low radon concentrations
  • To look into how thoron concentrations may affect radon measurements
  • To revise the existing radon measurement protocols in Europe and enhance such practices all over the continent
  • To provide support for the implementation of the new Directive in terms of the definition of RPA (Radon Priority Areas)
  • To revise the existing radon calibration facilities in Europe

Apart from the above, there are other objectives in terms of dissemination of results and enhanced communication that make metroRADON a very ambitious project that will be running for the next 3 years.

Partners

There are 17 partners involved in the project. Eight of them come from national metrological institutes and the rest are from research centers and universities. The following countries are represented: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland. The European Commission is represented by the JRC (Joint Research Centre). In addition to that, 25 companies compose the Industry Interest Group and among them, Radonova laboratories AB from Sweden are an active participant.

Timeline

The project will extend from June 2017 until June 2020. Every six months a newsletter will be issued showing progress and upcoming activities. All the information is available on the website www.metroradon.eu

Financial support to fight against the silent killer

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© Lucian Milasan – stock.adobe.com

Last February 2018, the 28 EU member states had to implement the EURATOM BSS 59/2013 Directive into their national legislation. An interesting part of this document is the Annex XVIII with a list of 14 items to consider by the governments during the design of the national radon action plans. The item 12 says “Where appropriate, provision of financial support for radon surveys and for remedial measures, in particular for private dwellings with very high radon concentrations”. The Swedish and Spanish governments are an example of this. As of 1st July 2018, homeowners can receive up to 25000 SEK to reduce the radon levels indoors. But before doing this, radon measurements must have been done using the services of an accredited laboratory as it is the case of Radonova Laboratories AB. In Spain, the national building plan includes in the Art. 36 the possibility of providing financial support to reduce radon levels below 300 Bq m-3.

High radon levels at the Royal palace in Stockholm

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© Leonid Andronov – stock.adobe.com

The new EURATOM BSS Directive 59/2013 aims to protect workers from the dangers coming from the exposure to radon gas. However, when we think of work places, usually we do not think in places like government buildings or royal palaces. But these buildings may be at risk of having high radon concentrations too. This is the case of the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden. High radon levels up to 15000 Bq m-3 have been reported on this location. We must remember that the reference level for radon in Sweden is 200 Bq m-3. For further information, you can check the news on the Swedish TV website and the VVS forum

Protocols for radon testing

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Last week, our specialist radon measurement advisor made a presentation at the UKRA symposium reviewing the existing protocols for radon testing. The main conclusions are: there is a new scenario after the implementation of EURATOM BSS 59/2013 Directive in Europe; most member states have adopted or will adopt a reference level of 300 Bq m-3;  the following EU countries have a protocol to describe how to measure radon (WP’s): Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, UK, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden. Norway and Switzerland have similar protocols too. In addition to that, there is a new industrial guideline to measure radon at work places (IRMA 0791-30). A video of this presentation will be available soon at the UKRA website.

UKRA symposium 2018

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This week Radonova Laboratories AB has been a gold sponsor at UKRA symposium. The meeting has been organised by UK Radon association in the city of Bath, UK. More than 60 participants have attended 9 presentations and 6 case study talks. Tony Colgan, from IAEA, made the keynote presentation and the meeting has had speakers from Canada, Ireland, Sweden, UK and USA. In addition, 9 exhibitors have shown their products. Congratulations to UKRA for this fantastic event.